June 6, 2001
Chicago, IL – Less than two weeks before opening the XIth FIFA World Youth Championship with a match against China, U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Wolfgang Suhnholz has announced his 18-man roster that will represent the United States in Argentina. The final roster includes five professional players, two members of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team and three players who have made an appearance with the full Men’s National Team.
Three current Clemson players, Ricky Lewis, Oguchi Onyewu, and Doug Warren are featured on this team. Lewis and Onyewu will be sophomores this fall, and Warren will be a junior in 2001.
The U.S. team will forego a domestic training camp and will depart directly for Argentina on June 9, with the team’s four MLS professionals joining the team the following day after playing MLS games on Saturday (June 9). The United States will be competing in its third consecutive World Youth Championship for the first time in U.S. Soccer history.
“After nearly two years of preparing and practicing, we are more than excited to get the tournament started,” U.S. head coach Wolfgang Suhnholz said. “I honestly think that if our team plays well, we can play with any team in the world. Now we just have to go to Argentina to prove it.”
The U.S. roster is strikingly similar to the team Suhnholz used at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Tunapuna, Trinidad in March. The U.S. outscored their opponents 11-2 in three games on the Carribean island to advance to the World Youth Championship in Argentina.
DaMarcus Beasley was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and finished with three goals and four assists. D.J. Countess was named the tournament’s most outstanding goalkeeper, allowing only one goal in two games, and Bobby Convey added three goals for the United States.
Seventeen of the 18 players on the roster in Trinidad will travel to Argentina. Only University of Virginia striker Alecko Eskandarian was not with the team in Trinidad. Eskandarian, however, clinched his spot on the Argentina roster with a sizzling performance at the Toulon Festival in France, scoring two goals in three games and displaying a relentless work ethic.
The team will have more professional experience than any other U.S. Under-20 team ever fielded. The MLS foursome of Landon Donovan, Bobby Convey, DaMarcus Beasley and Edson Buddle have combined for four goals and 10 assists in the young 2001 season. The youth national team players are not only playing, they are contributing. Convey’s five assists tie him for fourth in the league, and Donovan will enter the Earthquakes’ June 9 clash against the L.A. Galaxy with a three-game point streak in tow.
Conor Casey, who recently returned from his first pro season in Germany, was called into his first Men’s National Team training camp this week ahead of the USA’s Thursday clash with Ecuador in Columbus, Ohio. Casey, who teamed with Donovan on the U.S. team that finished fourth at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, could become the fourth U.S.
Under-20 player to be capped if he appears in the June 7 friendly. The talented attacking trio of Beasley, Convey and Donovan have already combined for eight full Men’s National Team appearances.
Seven members of Suhnholz’s squad played on the team that advanced to the 1999 Under-17 World Championship semifinals, including goalkeeper D.J. Countess (UCLA) and defenders Oguchi Onyewu (Clemson), Alexander Yi (UCLA) and Nelson Akwari (UCLA). In addition to those four, Beasley, Convey and Donovan were also on the squad that placed a U.S.-best fourth place at the 1999 event in New Zealand.
The U.S. team used the Toulon Festival in France as a final preparation before heading to Argentina. The U.S. team that traveled to Toulon at the end of May contained 14 of the 18 players named to the Argentina roster, but was missing offensive MLS mainstays Donovan, Beasley, Convey and Buddle, who stayed to play with their professional clubs.
The Americans finished tournament in France with a 1-1-1 record, and had their seven-match international unbeaten streak snapped by 1999 and 2000 Festival Champions Colombia, with a 3-1 loss on May 26. Colombia placed second in this year’s tournament.
Eskandarian and Onyewu got the U.S. tournament off to a wonderful start for the U.S., scoring goals two minutes apart as the U.S. came from behind to top Italy 2-1 and grab a temporary lead at the top of Group A. The U.S. then fell to Colombia in their second game, putting the U.S. in a situation where they needed to win their final match against Holland to advance to the semifinals. Despite creating several scoring chances, the U.S. could not find the net finish and was forced to settle for a 0-0 draw.
The U.S. will kick off the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship on the tournament’s opening day, June 17, against China. The U.S. will complete Group C play against Chile on June 20 and UEFA runner-ups Ukraine on June 23. All three of the USA’s first round games will take place in Mendoza, at the Stadium Malvinas Argentinas. The top two teams from each group advance to the round of 16, as do the top four third-place teams.
Suhnholz also named three alternates to the team: Kansas City Wizards midfielder Jose Burciaga, Clemson midfielder Kenny Cutler and Portland goalkeeper Curtis Spiteri. The alternates will not travel with the team, but will be available in the case of emergency.
The USA finished 11th at the 1999 World Youth Championship in Nigeria, losing only to eventual finalists Japan and Spain. The USA’s best finish came in 1989, when Kasey Keller guided the Americans to a spot in the semifinals and a fourth-place finish.
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